Emily Syverud '17

Emily profile

Name: Emily Syverud 

Graduating Class: 2017

Major: Biology and Spanish

My Story: When I started at Gustavus I was convinced I was headed to PT school right after graduation. Then sophomore year rolled around and I realized I wanted to be a little more involved in diagnostics, so suddenly PA school (which I first heard about at GAC) seemed like the best option for me. Cue my junior year and a lot of soul-searching as I thought about what I really wanted out of my career and how my skills and talents could be best put to use to help others through healthcare. In the end I decided that medical school was how I was going to feel both challenged and fulfilled in the immediate future as well as 30 years down the road. I took the MCAT during J-term of my senior year and applied to MD programs throughout the following spring and summer. During my year off I took time to travel, worked as a PCA, fulfilled a lifelong dream of working at a restaurant, and volunteered as a Spanish interpreter at a community health clinic in South Minneapolis. I will be starting as an MS1 at the University of Minnesota in the fall of 2018! 

Top Five Activities/Experiences: (in no particular order)

  1. Gustie Greeters
  2. Emergency Room Volunteer at Mayo Clinic Mankato
  3. Delta Phi Omega Sorority
  4. Gustavus Women in Leadership
  5. Study abroad in Sevilla, Spain


  1. Shadow, shadow, shadow. You can’t know what career is right for you just by reading about it online or watching Grey’s Anatomy. A shadowing experience in the ER my senior year is what convinced me to pursue an MD, I only wish I would’ve gotten that experience earlier! Take advantage of opportunities at Gustavus or ask for Gustie connections that you can reach out to, most of us alumni are more than happy to help.
  2. Take the classes you need for pre-requisites (because summer classes are the worst), but also take classes in other areas that you are passionate about. I majored in Spanish because I love the language and having those classes to look forward to got me through some of my not so favorite science courses. Plus, it’s nice to use your brain in a different way and have classes that aren’t quite so lecture or memorization heavy.
  3. Find the people in your major/career track who will support you and build you up. The pre-med/PA/PT/OT world can be really lonely and competitive, it’s one thing that originally put me off of looking at med school as an option. Find a few people who will do the long MCAT study hours and personal statement editing with you while still being positive and encouraging because it will make the whole process a little more fun!

 Future Plans: I will start my medical education in the fall of 2018 at the University of Minnesota. I’m looking forward to meeting new people, volunteering at the student-run clinic, and hopefully doing some global health work. Right now I am interested in an emergency medicine residency after I graduate, but I also have four whole years to have my mind changed about that!